TUESDAY, Dec. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Children who suffer cardiac arrest in U.S. hospitals were three times more likely to survive in 2009 compared to 2000, due to better initial resuscitation methods, according to a new study.
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The study also found that the risk of brain impairment in children who survive cardiac arrest has not increased.
Researchers examined the cases of more than 1,000 children who suffered cardiac arrest in 12 urban U.S. teaching hospitals. The number of children who survived until they were released from the hospital increased from more than 14 percent in 2000 to more than 43 percent in 2009.
The study was published Dec. 18 in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality & Outcomes.
"Survival in children who experience a cardiac arrest in the hospital has increased nearly threefold during the past decade, and most of those who survive are without severe neurological disability," lead author Dr. Saket Girotra, an interventional cardiologist at the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics in Iowa City, said in a journal news release.
The increased rate of survival was primarily the result of better care during resuscitation, when the heart is restarted. Survival rates during resuscitation rose from nearly 43 percent in 2000 to more than 81 percent in 2009.
The study did not pinpoint the exact reasons for the improved survival rates, but Girotra said it was likely due to a combination of factors, including early recognition of cardiac arrest with the use of monitoring systems, high-quality chest compressions, timely defibrillation in patients with shockable heart rhythms, appropriate use of medicines during cardiac arrest and optimal care for resuscitated patients.
The findings showed the importance of continuing efforts to improve the quality of resuscitation after cardiac arrest, Girotra said.
-- Robert Preidt
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SOURCE: Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality & Outcomes, news release, Dec. 18, 2012